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Super-Cannes (2000)

por J. G. Ballard

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1,1652212,666 (3.56)41
Eden-Olympia is more than just a multinational business park, it is a virtual city-state in itself, built for the most elite high-tech industries. Isolated and secure, the residents lack nothing, yet one day, a doctor at the clinic goes on a suicidal shooting spree. Dr. Jane Sinclair is hired as his replacement, and her husband Paul uncovers the dangerous psychological vents that maintain Eden-Olympia's smoothly-running surface.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 22 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
This is my third novel but British author J.G. Ballard. Super-Cannes is a "luxury enclave on the heights about the Croisette". It is a story about Europe's silicon valley, a world set apart from the rest of Riviera. Everyone works, no one plays, and that is where it all goes wrong. In this Eden where the gods of Olympus can do anything they want, things go wrong. Dr Jane and her injured pilot husband take a temporary position there and are soon sucked in to the "waiting madness" of Eden-Olympia. As is typical in Ballard novels, there are roads, planes, autos, buildings, parking ramps. There are also swimming pools with dust on the water. The book has the feel of a thriller, a science fiction/fantasy novel but really isn't one. Some futuristic look at disease and infection, need to social distance, the electronic record and the monitoring of health by big business. On the other hand, the book has violence, sex, drugs. ( )
  Kristelh | Mar 15, 2021 |
Anyone who's read say, half a dozen Ballard novels could probably identify this as such from the first paragraph. A first paragraph that stayed with me through-out the book. Indeed I re-read it twice, once at about the 1/3 mark and once right after finishing the book.

One is rapidly led to believe that this novel deals with all of Ballard's normal tropes; medical doctor characters, nutters, aviation, social microcosms, veneer of civilisation which is easily ripped away. In the case of one of these, though, one is being mis-led, which makes the book more interesting. Instead of pulling a Lord of the Flies re-set (see High Rise, Concrete Island, Rushing to Paradise) here the characters, despite all working in a giant science park on the French Riviera, do not lose their connections to the outside world completely - at least not physically, making the book more realistic than say, High Rise, where everybody inexplicably chooses to give up work and never leave their middle-class tower apartment block home. Most of the characters still behave like a-moral aliens or depraved loonies, however. This seems to have been one of Ballard's core beliefs; we're all just pretending to be sane until we can get to a situation where we don't have to pretend anymore. I don't really buy it.

There's a murder mystery at the core of the book, which provides a narrative drive sometimes absent with Ballard. Who did what and why seems to be pretty much wrapped up by about half way and then the book meanders for about 100p before further revelations wind things up again for a denouement that is quite satisfying, particularly the very end.

If there's a real antagonist in this book, it's the psychiatrist, Wilder, who's views are disturbing. I immediately reacted against them; this must be wrong! But I had to stop and seriously think things through to see where the error was hidden. A novel hasn't made me do that since Starship Troopers. It's one of those scary philosophies all the more dangerous and superficially plausible because there is just enough truth mixed with the insanity.

Ballard is such a hit-and-miss writer. High Rise was an unmitigated disaster, Rushing to Paradise is a bull's eye, this is somewhere between. More interesting for being a believable setting, more readable for its use and subversion of murder-mystery trappings, clever in the character arc of the protagonist, but suffering still from being too much of a re-tread of Ballard's basic themes, never-the-less worthwhile. ( )
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
The problems with this book are:

* it's a real nothing-burger. A few things happen in a sea of alienation
* it's all about alienation, in the same way that porn is about 'doing it'. Every scene has to divolve into some alienated pastiche.
* I guessed, roughly and correctly, what was going to happen at the start.
* nothing really happens.
* there's a kinda approval or you-know-you-like-it approach to sex with 12, 13 year old kids collected in orphanages which is kinda off and off-putting. No, that's actually not my cup of tea. Another layer of alienation
* oh, kinda justified open racism, violent beatings of immigrants "Paul, it really is for the best" which is riske', but lame.

There is a good 'citizen sleuth' thing, and the alienation is attractive, but not nearly enough. Like having to eat only Chinese food for a week.

( )
  GirlMeetsTractor | Mar 22, 2020 |
“Representative democracy had been replaced by the surveillance camera and the private police force.”

This novel revolves around a gated capitalist paradise, Eden-Olympia. Eden-Olympia, with its ornamental ponds, sports centres and cafes, is a hi-tech business park nestling in the hills above the French Riviera, home to the new elites of major multi-national companies like Siemens and Mitsui etc. Its inhabitants, monitored by surveillance cameras and guarded by the complex's own security force, have no need or time to interact with the larger community. All that matters is the accumulation of wealth, work and company profits have eclipsed the need for play.

Into this capitalist paradise arrives an ex-RAF pilot and his wife. Paul Sinclair is recovering from injuries to his knees sustained in a botched aeroplane take-off where he was the pilot whilst his wife Jane is a youthful paediatrician with a taste for the occasional recreational drug. Jane is to replace David Greenwood, a doctor who some months earlier had rampaged Eden-Olympia with a rifle killing 10 people before dying himself himself. Because of his injuries, Paul finds himself with plenty of free time on his hands which he increasingly spends alone due to Jane's burgeoning work schedule. Smelling a conspiracy Paul, an prompted by resident psychiatrist Wilder Penrose, turns sleuth trying to uncover why David Greenwood, whom his wife knew back in Britain as a mild mannered doctor, turned mass murderer.

As Paul delves under the skin of Eden-Olympia he discovers a serious programme of violence, designed and promoted by Penrose, to counteract executive stress in which Arab pimps and Senegalese trinket merchants are left bleeding in the gutters and robberies committed. Sinclair is appalled by the criminality he uncovers but also feels a grudging admiration of the rationale behind it and finds himself unable to inform the Police or tear himself away.

This is a well crafted novel and the action progresses at a good clip meaning that the reader ends up caring for Paul and willing as he sinks further into this murky other world that he will not only wake up and come to his senses but also actively do something to halt it it's expansion. Twisted Penrose is a well written villain, an "amiable Prospero", the anti-hero of this insular little world, viewing the encouragement of baser instincts as an engine to drive the arts, sciences and industries of the world who treats those around him almost as clockwork toys, to wind-up then sit back and revel in the havoc that they cause. On the whole I really enjoyed it yet it also missed that little something that would have made this a really good read. ( )
1 vote PilgrimJess | Sep 18, 2018 |
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  ngunity | Nov 23, 2014 |
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J. G. Ballardautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculated
Griffin, GordonNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Tervaharju, HannuTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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The first person I met at Eden-Olympia was a psychiatrist, and in many ways it seems only too apt that my guide to this 'intelligent' city in the hills above Cannes should have been a specialist in mental disorders.
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Meaningless violence may be the true poetry of the new millennium.
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Eden-Olympia is more than just a multinational business park, it is a virtual city-state in itself, built for the most elite high-tech industries. Isolated and secure, the residents lack nothing, yet one day, a doctor at the clinic goes on a suicidal shooting spree. Dr. Jane Sinclair is hired as his replacement, and her husband Paul uncovers the dangerous psychological vents that maintain Eden-Olympia's smoothly-running surface.

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